Teaching Children to Be Wise About What They Read

One of the things I’m particular about as a homeschool mom is helping my kids develop criteria for discerning what content is okay when it comes to games, media, and books. Since Edric and I can’t watch them 24/7, especially as they get older, our approach to teaching them about guarding against wrong influences is to provide them with guidelines and boundaries so they feel equipped to make their own informed choices.

An area where they need a set of standards to abide by is how they choose literature. Whether it be literary masterpieces and classics, or books and stories on topics of interest, here are five guiding elements we use:

  1. Does it celebrate noble virtues? Do characters and circumstances inspire the formation of moral character such as bravery, selflessness, thankfulness, peace, kindness, faith, and the like?
  2. Does it inspire a growth-mindset? Is the reader challenged to grow in wisdom, stature, favor with God and favor with man (Luke 2:52)
  3. Does it stimulate the imagination? Is the reader drawn in by the story and captivated by the author’s imagery and style?
  4. Does it conform to literary standards? Is it clearly and masterfully written, with correct grammar, well-developed characters, and does it possess a timeless appeal?
  5. Does it have God-centered or a redemptive theme? Does the story show how good triumphs over evil? Does it leave the reader with hope?

Generally, when it comes to shopping for books for my kids, I go to Christianbook.com or I read up on reviews on books that we buy at Fully Booked. A good site for reviews is www.pluggedin.com which gives pretty thorough, fair, and discerning points on media from Christian perspective.

As my kids get older, I’m learning to trust them more with their choices. This doesn’t mean they won’t make mistakes. But, I can’t micromanage everything they do. Furthermore, I do believe Edric and I have tried our best to lay out for them how to be wise. We will continue to point them to the Word of God, and teach them to have convictions so they can make decisions that please God. However, we also have to let them develop their own moral compass.

The other day, my second son, Edan was unusually withdrawn and quiet. I asked him if something was wrong. He hesitated to say but later on in the day, he admitted to me that he had been playing a supposed “educational” game on his device that turned out not to be entirely educational. I appreciated his honesty. He was convicted to be forthright and accountable which I applauded him for.

Some years back, Elijah decided to stop reading the Percy Jackson books as he felt their content was dark and demonic. Since I hadn’t read them myself, I didn’t have an opinion to give. However, it was comforting to know that Elijah came to a God-honoring conclusion on his own, because he had convictions about what media is okay and what isn’t.

As my kids grow up, they need to fear God more than they fear us. They need to desire to please Him above all. This is the ultimate guiding principle when it comes to media, whether it be online content, movies, or what they read. There’s no guarantee that our children will be cautious and careful about feeding their minds with what is uplifting, proper, and good unless their motivation is higher than conforming to what mom and dad or others expect of them.

“…For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10

“Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:9

18 thoughts on “Teaching Children to Be Wise About What They Read

  1. Since I have followed the Charlotte Mason approach in our homeschooling (which is by far, the most literature and culture rich in terms of learning style in my opinion), we have discovered so many “living” books that really allow our children to use their imagination and connect the pieces together into one whole that enriches the child’s learning. You may want to explore these “living” books at http://amblesideonline.org. 🙂 Thank you also for sharing your guiding principles as this really is very helpful to teach our kids to be discerning themselves. Blessings to you Joy! 🙂

  2. Lol Juancho. You DO realize this is a Christian mommy blog, don’t you? While I would not mind if my kids watched The Simpsons or read Harry Potter, this page is really not the place for your toxic blathering.

  3. Ha ha ha. I think he keeps trying to incite people to give him attention which is why I just ignore his comments. If he wants to troll at least he is reading about Jesus, which is the irony that he doesn’t recognize…maybe because of too much Homer Simpson? I hope he comes to know the Lord…

    1. Thanks for this! At least his comment is gone now! Let’s make this site encouraging! Someday, Juancho will see Jesus an his own eyes. I’m so glad you aren’t really feeding it and praise the lord that others are praying for him! God bless! 🙏🏻

  4. I am so ooo hh happy that the KSP is gone from your threads. Now I can enjoy again your blog entries (and my donuts) the purest way possible.

    1. Ha ha ha. I will try to delete his comments as soon as I see them to protect everyone’s reading experience. 😊

  5. Hi Tita Joy! I’m so glad you “vacuumed” Juancho’s comments away! If ever he tries to comment again and mention Homer Simpson, you can either simply delete it or even reply with a prayer that will lead him to Jesus and have him to come to get to know him even better. I hope this blog inspires anyone to be Christlike and love Jesus more than anything else! We should grab some donuts with the family soon! I’ll let you know when we’re free!

    I’ll just close this with a prayer:
    “Lord, thank you for Tita Joy and her family, thank you Lord for the wonderful children you gave her, Lord. I pray, Lord, that her family will be safe and I pray that they will stay positive and happy at all times and Lord, special prayer for Juancho, I pray that he will come to know you even more and talk less of only what he likes and Lord, I pray that Juancho will be more careful when he comments and be more considerate of other people. This I ask in Jesus’ name, amen.”

    God bless!

  6. I’m so glad. Let’s just pray that Juancho will never comment rude things again! Better yet, comment more positive things! This is a bully-free zone! Let’s thank God for all our blessings!

  7. OH MY GOSH MS. JOY THEY ARE READING THE LAND OF STORIES SERIES AND THE SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS SERIES! I FINISHED THAT QUITE A TIME AGO!!! I’M 12 YEARS OLD AND I LOVE READING MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD!!!!!

  8. You know what Ms. Joy? I always see your family around CCF a lot (especially your mom all the time, like we keep bumping into each other) and you’re always like full of joy and happiness. Your children must be lucky to have a mom like you, Ms. Joy.

  9. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho was pretty to read, it talks about how do we find our treasures in our life. I reccommend Elijah and Edan to read this wonderous book! They will surely enjoy it!

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